On the back of voting against a Bill designed to protect women, the Minister for Women and Ageing has failed to implement major recommendations designed to prevent elder abuse.
For two years the Minister has ignored the recommendations of a Parliamentary Enquiry into Elder Abuse, letting the recommendations gather dust while older Australians face emotional, physical, financial, social or sexual abuse.
With today being World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, NSW Labor has renewed its calls on the Government to appoint a Public Advocate to protect the dignity of older Australians.
The Minister for Ageing, Tanya Davies MP, has only mentioned elder abuse once in Parliament, when she congratulated her government for establishing the Elder Abuse Helpline, which was established in 2013.
But the Minister has ignored the awful reality, evidenced by the NSW Elder Abuse Helpline receiving over 7,000 reports of abuse since its establishment.
The 2016 enquiry made a number of recommendations which have been ignored by the Government, including:
- the creation of a Public Advocate’s Office (modelled on the Victorian Public Advocate)
- improving Powers of Attorney legislation
The NSW Law Reform Commission released draft recommendations from its review of guardianship arrangements in February 2018, including support for changes to Powers of Attorney legislation and repeating the call for a Public Advocate to be appointed.
The Parliamentary Inquiry found that the number of people at risk of elder abuse is increasing due to Australia’s ageing population - with the number of people aged 65 and over projected to double by 2050, and the number of people with dementia expected to almost treble within the same period.
It has been estimated that at least 50,000 people in NSW have experienced some form of elder abuse.
Quotes attributable to Kate Washington MP
“For two years the Government has sat on its hands and failed to implement the major recommendations of this report.
“Older Australians deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, and have their interests protected.
“When the Minister for Women & Ageing fails to stand up for women and the aged, you’d think Premier would be wondering if she was the right person for the job.
“This Government could find over $2 billion to knock down and rebuild stadiums, but could only find $150,000 for a trial of elder abuse case workers. This Government has the wrong priorities."
This item was distributed as a media release on Friday 15 June 2018.